sideways: [o] fish in bag watching fish in bowl (►jar on the nightstand)
[personal profile] sideways
Title: Treading Water
Rating: G
Series: Fallout: New Vegas (original characters)
Wordcount: 851
Summary: Larkin's just a terrible date sometimes tbh.
Remarks: Kris wrote me a thing (and then a bunch more things, good lord why are my friends all so prolific) so naturally I had to write silly little a thing in return. It's my vain hope that it's not glaringly obvious when I started running out of time and hastily flung an ending at it.


Larkin wiggled her toes deeper into the cool mud, water lapping around her waist, and then looked back at the shore. “And if a horde of cazadores is on your tail?”

Seated in the paltry shade of a particularly unambitious yucca palm, her audience did not look moved by the example. She could see the wrinkling of Vivian’s nose beneath her aviators. “What of it?”

Larkin spread her arms and lightly splashed the water. “Quickest way to lose ‘em is to take a dive. Only have to float for a minute or two before they give up.”

“Handy.” Vivian lifted a hand to tap a finger mock-thoughtfully against her cheek. “Unless, of course, you’re now being chased by lakelurks instead.”

“Aw, come off it!” She swung a dripping hand to her left. “You got Camp Golf right there, you really think they’re gonna let ‘lurks move in? C’mon Viv.” Another swirl of her hands through the water, and Larkin eased further back towards the centre of the lake, where the water started to move from tepid to genuinely refreshing. “It’s nice out.”

The other woman quirked a half-smile at her wheedling, and crooked a finger over her glasses, sliding them down to flash a familiar look over the rims. “Well, I’ll say the view’s nice-”

Her undergarments were piled with the rest of her things back on dry land. Larkin grinned.

“-but I’d rather soak up rays than rads,” Vivian said with firm finality, pushing her aviators back into place to punctuate the statement. “I can rope a brahmin, you can swim, between us we got it all covered.”

Larkin blew out a rude dismissal, paddling even further away, water snaking up and over her collarbones. “How many times we needed to rope us a cow?”

“How many times has swimming been an issue?”

“Like I said, cazadores-”

“Ain’t got me yet.” Vivian folded her arms behind her head and leaned back as far as the spread of shade allowed. “Hey, I’m not stopping you from floating around to your heart’s content, Larkin. Doing us both a favour, truth be told. You’ve been getting a little ripe.”

Wasn’t an unfair assessment, so Larkin just called out a “hah!” and flicked a palmful of water at the shore. It fell well short of course, and Vivian didn’t so much as twitch.

Committed, it would seem, to her stance of not trying ten new things before breakfast. She had the right of it in pointing out swimming wasn’t much of a necessity; Larkin had learned more in play than out of any determined teachings, for the sake of escaping a skin-bustingly hot day or scrounging for the goods that could sometimes be found half-buried at the bottom. Had never objected to the act of stepping into deep water, though, which made her wonder what it’d take to draw her companion out of her landbound shell.

Curious now, Larkin gave it a minute or few further then said, over-loud, “Wait, what’s that?”

“Hm?” Vivian didn’t move to sit up from her basking position, but her head rolled slightly towards her. “What’s wh-” 

Larkin pitched a yelp dramatically high, and let herself drop under the surface.

Cool silence enveloped her. The water in Lake Las Vegas wasn’t the sparkling clean of Lake Mead’s good side, and she’d stirred up enough silt with her wanderings to make it that much murkier; could see her hand in front of her face, but past a few feet it got blurry. One of the reasons the troopers were so careful about making sure no lakelurks moved in.

Still, she noted with interest, it was clear enough to see the exact moment something large came splashing in from shoreward.

She pushed off lightly from the bottom and broke out into the air, spitting out the little water that had snuck into her mouth and swiping her hair back off her forehead. Several feet from the shore, water up to her knees, Vivian spun towards her; the glasses were gone, apparently tossed aside in the charge, and her dark eyes were wide enough to be edging towards frantic.

Larkin-”

Larkin flashed her a wide smile. “Decided to come in, huh?”

A long, processing pause. The eyes snapped to a sharp, narrow glare. “Are you shitting me.”

“What?” Larkin shrugged, kicking her feet lazily. “I slipped.”

“Slipped.”

“Yeah. In the mud.”

“And the mud kept you down for five goddamn minutes?”

Larkin snorted. “I can’t hold my breath for five minutes.”

Vivian breathed heavily through her nose. Turned around and stalked back to the shore.

“Aw, Viv,” Larkin called after her, amused. And then, a little less amused, as she watched Vivian gather her things, bend to pick up Larkin’s boots, and shoot Larkin a very meaningful look over her shoulder. “Viv…”

She had a mean overarm, Larkin had to admit.

As the boots sailed off into the brush and promised a fun hop across the hot dirt to fetch them, Larkin sunk down into the water and watched her companion stomp off in the other direction.

And, beneath the surface, grinned.
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